| The Martin Wickramasinghe
Collection is housed in the Hall of Life and Literature in the National
Library and Documentation Centre. The collection is the
personal reference library selected and carefully looked after by
the author over a period of nearly 70 years. In his biography, Martin
Wickramasinghe has said that he became accustomed to buy a few books
every month from HW Cave.
Martin Wickramasinghe's writing table
in the Hall of life, at the National Library
|He relates an amusing incident where the Manager of
the bookshop came up to him and said : "I know that you come
here and spend a lot of time referring many books before buying
one. I don't mind that you use the bookshop like a public library,
but please don't lick your finger and turn the page of the book
you read ".
|The collection reflects the wide diversity of subjects
explored by Martin Wickramasinghe during his literary life. The
collection includes many valuable and rare publications in fiction,
literary criticism, anthropology, biological evolution, social sciences,
Buddhism, comparative religion, philosophy, fine arts, amongst others.
Annotations made by Martin Wickramasinghe can be yet deciphered
on some pages of many of the books.The late Professor Joseph Needham,
when he visited Sri Lanka to deliver the inaugural MartinWickramasinghe
Lecture was delighted to read a rather adverse critical comment
penciled by Martin Wickramasinghe in a page of one of Needham's
books "Time, the Refreshing River".
| A database of the entire catalogue
of over 5000 books has been prepared by the National Library and
Documentation Centre. This data is being made available though this
website and eventually also in compact disks.
All of Martin Wickramasinghe's published writings in Sinhala and
English, including first editions, translations of books published
in 9 foreign languages as well as manuscripts are on display in
the Hall of Life and Literature. A book written when he was 13 years
old, is included
President R.Premadasa at
Installation of the Wickramasinghe collection
at the National Library premises.
|The books, memorabilia, souvenirs
and gifts collected by him on his travels can also be seen
on the book shelves, arranged in just the same way that he had arranged
them in his library when it was at in his residence in Nawala. His
writing table is also to be seen here.